Tuesday 29 November 2016

Excuse me as I run into this post!

Dear Coat Manufacturers,

          I would like to draw your attention to a slight flaw in your design. Although some individuals may choose a coat purely for its aesthetic purposes, we individuals in Canada choose a coat for its ability to keep us warm and dry. This particular coat is indeed nice and warm. It is long enough to cover my bottom when out in the wind, as well as when I sit on a cold vehicular seat.

     In Canada, we put up our hoods. Hoods prevent our ears from turning black from frostbite and falling off. Hoods keep us from getting earaches when the wind drives icy blasts into our brains. Hoods are more convenient than hats because they are attached to coats and they don't get lost easily.

      The hood on my newly purchased winter coat presents a problem. Let me show you what the problem is:

When I put my hood up, I am rendered completely blind. As you can see, I cannot see. This could lead to some accident, such as running into a post, or another person, or a moose.

This would be a good coat for someone in the witness protection programme, or for a celebrity not wishing to be followed by paparazzi, or perhaps by E.T.  This is not, however, a good coat for a Canadian woman who spends some time outside and needs to be able to see. A free hat to go along with the coat to replace the useless hood might be a good idea.

                                                                    Wandering Aimlessly

Saturday 26 November 2016

It's a texture thing...

I was doing my usual Saturday morning with coffee blog reading, luxuriating over the time that I had, not having to rush around, get dressed in something presentable, and go to work. One of my usual blogs that I enjoy was Cro Magnon's blog in which he was discussing the virtues of an egg. From how he was describing the process and the timing of the boiling, I presumed he was enjoying soft boiled eggs.

Not wanting to comment because I thought it would be rude to say, "Ewww, gross. I can't stand soft boiled eggs", it did get me thinking. About eggs. And other food. There is just something about the texture, or maybe it's even the thought, of slightly uncooked eggs that sends me. A fried egg with the chance of anything remotely runny initiates my gag reflex. A soft boiled egg in which you might dip a piece of toast also, to borrow a younger phrase, "grosses me out".

Cro did inspire me to have eggs this morning however.

They may have started out like this in the bowl,

but they quickly got scrambled.

Then they were cooked to within an inch of their lives with nothing runny or jiggly left at all.

It really is a texture thing. There are a few other foods that fall into the "gross out" category for me. Certain types of seafood are just too chewy, rubbery, or just plain slimy for my liking. We have travelled to the east coast of Canada a number of times. When in Prince Edward Island, one must eat mussels, oysters, clams, or lobster. I managed to dip mussels into garlic butter and perform an obligatory couple of chews before choking them down. I wanted to love them. I really did. But I kept trying not to feel them in my mouth the whole time. Lobster is great, but god help me if I get served up a female complete with eggs. My poor sweet young daughter at the time received this at one of the famous P.E.I lobster suppers. She was, and still is, an adventuresome eater (I have tried to be somewhat silent in my disapproval of certain textures so as not to pass on my issues to my children), but even the sight of those tiny red eggs made her think twice.

I even forced myself to put my big girl panties on and try a raw oyster on our most recent trip (husband and daughter were in there having a feast!) I'm not even going to tell you what that blob of raw oysterness felt like sliding down my throat. (It's giving me the shivers even now). I don't care how much hot sauce or lemon you are going to squeeze on that thing, that was my last oyster event.

Clams. They just stay there. You can keep chewing till the next day and they never change, or go away. They are giant rubber bands to me.

As a child going over to the farm where noon meals were essentially "supper" as was the practise of farming families who had been up and choring since well before 6:00 a.m., I was used to meals that had not one, but sometimes two choices of dessert. (Did I mention I was a fat kid?) Sometimes it was custard pie, or it was apple dumplings, "store bought" donuts sprinkled with sugar, even a piece of bread swimming in real maple syrup, and sometimes, yes, sometimes it was a bowl of tapioca pudding. Shudder...  Could you get more "eating of fish eyes" than a bowl of tapioca pudding?

Fat on meat, anything less than completely crispy chicken skin (and even then, skin... bleh), the tiny bones in canned salmon, the jellified top coating of pate, the thick cream that rose to the top of our straight-from-the-bulk-tank-non-pasteurized whole milk, the little globules in breakfast sausages, chunky bits of pulp in orange juice, wine gums, bacon that is even remotely wobbly, jello... the list goes on and on.

I know this makes me sound a bit like a princess, but I don't voice my disgust because I know it's just my own personal issues. I don't send food back in a restaurant, I don't make requests of a hostess when invited to dinner, and I don't go on about it (except for it being the topic of this post). I just quietly trim the fat off my beef and leave it in a little pile at the side of my plate.

What about you? Are there any food textures that send you packing?

Friday 18 November 2016

an emotional afternoon ... the long haired cat saga, continues

This is really not how I pictured my day. It involved looking out at the front porch where I heard the cat meowing and for a moment I couldn't quite grasp what I was looking at. I won't go into detail but our Scooter, the long-haired, burr ridden, "free" cat is having surgery tonight to have his tail (or what is left of it) amputated.

We rushed him to the closest vet that does emergency services (which wasn't close, about 35 minutes away). The vet said it was likely a fan belt accident. She gave us a breakdown of what should be done. Of course, it was after hours, so it would have an added charge. She didn't think he had internal injuries, but x-rays would tell for sure.

When we were given the possible cost, I will admit we wondered if it was worth it. The other cat HATES him, he still doesn't use the litter box, but thankfully with good weather he just goes to the bathroom outside, somewhere. (Don't know what's going to happen during the long snow-filled winter). He was originally a "free" kitten. I know all the animal lovers out there will judge us, but we did a bit of hemming and hawing (I was crying the whole time and couldn't really even look at him for long periods of time), I even "said my goodbyes". In the end, we decided to go with the surgery and we will pick him up tomorrow.

You have to keep in mind that we rescue animals. We do not buy "designer" pets. We do not require paperwork to go along with a pet. Even as a child, our family pets were rescues. I played with barn cats as a little girl knowing that barn cats were a different category (oh, no pun intended) than a house pet. I differentiate between animals and people. I have always loved my pets, but I am also realistic. Again, do not judge me, please.

Two things I know for sure from this experience: I could never, ever, ever (did I say ever?) work in the health care industry. (I've always known that). I had to ask my husband to go in with the vet and take Scooter out of the cage. It was gruesome and it is still etched in my mind.  Secondly, I now understand pet insurance. No, we have never taken out insurance on our pets, but I seriously don't think we have ever paid the kinds of costs that we have paid recently. Even neutering this cat was a lot more expensive than I remember from a different male cat that we had. I do not begrudge the money that vets make because quite frankly, they are trained medical professionals, but I do think that our heart strings are tugged upon and we just agree to the cost because we love "Fluffy" or "Rover" so much.

Incidentally, the vet's office just phoned to let us know that he is out of surgery and a little groggy. (I was waiting for "resting comfortably"). I will leave you with this question, what is the most you have spent on a pet? (And I will share, it costs over $800.00 to have a tail amputated and the other ensuing costs. We have a daughter in university and pay for a third driver's insurance right now. We have LOTS of ways to spend $800.00). Sigh.

Additional info: We picked him up this morning. He does not have internal injuries. Because he went through the surgery so well, the "worst case scenario" quote of over $800 ended up being a bit over $500 instead. Still a hefty sum, at least it wasn't the highest amount quoted. He has a little tiny stump of a tail and because he is all shaved at the back end, he looks ridiculous, but he is purring and rolling and only occasionally gives a tiny "yelp" when he over does it and rolls in a way that it hurts his stump. Stitches come out in two weeks. Apart from the cost, the hardest thing now is keeping him indoors for two weeks. He is going to hate that because he is very much an outdoor cat.   Additional sigh.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

The One Good Thing About Staying Home

I'm on day two of being home sick from work. It is a pain and involves extra work on my part. It is, quite frankly, easier to just go to work, but that's not what I'm about to say.

I am not really a Netflix kind of person. I don't love movies the way my husband and daughter do. They get very excited about a new movie coming out, or a sequel. They will watch new films, old films, horror Hammer films...  I get bored easily and wish for a good book, or I go off and clear away dishes or something.

But as much as I have little use for movies, I have even less use for napping. I don't nap well. Even if I am sick. Yes, I am fully aware that we heal better if we rest, but for the amount of time it takes me to actually fall asleep, and then usually a cat or a phone will disturb me, and upon waking I feel worse, sort of "out of it".

So I planted myself on the couch in pajamas and a robe, pot of tea and toast beside me, and turned to Netflix. I looked through the selections, the new additions, the ones recommended for me, comedies, dramas... and then I spotted Midsomer Murders. I love murder mysteries (prefer reading them to watching them). And I love stories set in England (countryside, not city). Well, this fit the bill! Through my coughing and blowing my nose and shifting to be more comfortable, and getting another glass of water, I have enjoyed three episodes. I may have to continue watching these even if I'm not sick. I'm sure there is someone else out there who is familiar with this series.

I love looking at the backgrounds of the scenes as much as what is actually happening in the storyline. I'd love to experience living in places like those featured in the stories (minus the murdering of course).  Anyway, it is helping to pass the time.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Follow up to Yesterday...

I was under two blankets yesterday shivering, feeling achy, and coughed a "pull" between my ribs. The timing is cruddy because our daughter came home for the weekend. She ended up doing things for me! I went to the emerg. department at our little local hospital and explained my life story to two different nurses. Then a young doctor came in and made me feel like I was doing the wrong thing coming into emerg. and asked about making an appointment with my family doctor. He said, "it's same day service" with your doctor. I said it was NEVER same day service. When I tried to make an appointment two days ago the quickest I could get in was December 1st.

Anyway, after the guilt and wearing a face mask, and being chastised because I didn't know what kind of antibiotics I had been on most recently, I finally received a diagnosis of a lung infection. I said to him, "So, you are saying lung infection, but that's not pneumonia, right?" and he said, "Yes, it's pneumonia. Whenever someone tells you that you have a lung infection, that is pneumonia."

Good lord, so I am going to go to a different town now to get a prescription filled (the small town does not have a pharmacy that is open on a Sunday) and my wonderful daughter is going to go with me and I will pick up a few necessities that she can take back to university with her when she goes back tonight.

I won't be going to work tomorrow.

Thanks for all the advice everyone, and if you still have more advice, I am willing to hear it!!

Saturday 12 November 2016

Sinus Sufferers Unite, and then Give me Some Advice

Well hi there. Last night I breathed through my mouth the entire night. When I finally got out of bed, realizing it wasn't going to get any better, my mouth, tongue and throat were ARID. I have a full blown sinus infection. How do I know? Well, I know this because I am feeling the all too familiar burning pain in my cheekbones, the left half of my face has been congested for three months and two antibiotic treatments later, is now more congested than ever. I will not discuss what I am blowing out of my head. As well, I am feeling the pain in my ribs from coughing too much. I will now hug my rib cage by criss-crossing my arms around me every time I cough so I won't blow some cartiledge between my ribs which I am told hurts more than a broken rib. This is a familiar feeling as well.

How many of you are able to see your doctor right away? Yesterday I made an appointment for December the 1st. It is currently November the 12th. Ya, I'll be fine until then.

My questions are: -Do any of you suffer from acute, chronic, whatever sinus infections?
                              -Have any of you had the sinus surgery which is essentially a roto-rootering of the
                               sinuses followed by a "pressure washing" of an antibacterial solution?
                              -If you had that surgery, was it worth it and did you have it while just sedated, but
                                not fully put under? (How horrible was it?)

I know one person whose blog I love, and who comes to visit my blog has shared the experiences of a close relative. This person found it to be successful. I guess I'm just looking for first hand experiences and sharing and helping me to get my nerve up to have something like this done. I am SO DONE WITH THE TWICE YEARLY SINUS INFECTION and all the repercussions that go along with it.


I have tried the usual over the counter sinus congestion tablets, I have tried Neti pots and nasal rinses (both of which drive the congestion in my ears and make it worse and add another element of pain), hot and cold compresses on my face, acupuncture to improve my immune system, and yup, I even jumped on the essential oil bandwagon (otherwise known as the next best pyramid scheme since Amway) and rubbed 4 Thieves oil on the bottom of my feet and across my face. I go on antibiotics which sometimes work, but more often than not, don't.

So, fellow sinus sufferers, commiserate with me and share your knowledge. Give me that kick in the scaredy pants that I need.

Monday 7 November 2016

Remind me again why we wanted a long haired cat?

I live in a little village in Ontario. Our house is at the end of a dead end road in the village. We have one house across the road to the east of us (the one with the pristine lawn and perfect everything). We have an absentee neighbour to the north of us. To the south and west is field and untended land. That means we have a lot of this:

The lovely milkweed plant is currently sending forth its delicate parachute-like seeds, drifting effortlessly through the air. Milkweeds are the prime feeding ground for the noble monarch caterpillar which then creates a chrysalis on the underside of a milkweed leaf in early fall. Milkweeds are wonderful, and in some places encouraged due to the rapidly declining Monarch butterfly population. Notice how the late afternoon sun highlights the ethereal beauty of this stately plant.

And then there's this. Bloody burdock.

And this. Freakin' goldenrod.

When you have a happy little idiot cat who spends his days and nights exploring the nether reaches of our property and beyond and looks like this:

you spend a lot of time pulling vegetation out of his fur. I actually took this picture in between sessions trying to dislodge some long grass-like seed head thing with a very Velcro-y texture. He is asleep for crying out loud. You can actually see something stuck under his little cat armpit. There is currently so much embedded in his fur that I am contemplating shaving him. I'm just waiting for him to come home with something like this stuck in his fur:

Sunday 6 November 2016

Baby Showers

Today I am going to a baby shower. I am now at the stage where I am attended showers for babies produced by friends' children! (Did you follow that?) I knew the father of this baby when he was just a toddler running around and being put to bed early.

I have a couple of standard items that I almost always include with a baby shower gift. They are items which were 'life savers' for me when I was a new mom who didn't know anything and was just trying to get through each day.

The first is penaten cream. My own mother used this and the tradition was passed on. It works so well for those raw, nasty diaper rashes that occur at teething time. The staying power is tremendous and heaven help you if you got some on your own clothes before heading out to work and dropping baby off at the daycare! I tried other diaper creams, but this was hands down the best.

I also like to provide a tube of Lansinoh cream, if I know that the mom is breastfeeding. I know breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but it didn't come easy for me as a first time mom. One thing they don't tell you is that breast feeding can hurt! (Yes, if done properly, it shouldn't hurt... but ask around, it is a learning curve for many women). This stuff was wonderful and really the only thing that provided relief.


A third item that came in handy was Gripe Water. At one point we dosed our baby daughter up so much with this stuff, she smelled like a dill pickle! Gripe Water is handy for those babies who are going through a rather fussy, possibly gassy stage.

Back in the day, baby showers, as well as bridal showers, had a predictability about them. A group of women and their daughters would gather in a circular fashion in someone's livingroom, or perhaps at a community centre. There would be a couple of silly games to play, then the mother (or mother-to-be) or bride would commence opening the gifts, one by one. Usually there was a girl, or a best friend sitting beside the celebrated woman, pen in hand, writing down the type of gift received on the back of the attached card so the bride could keep track and send out thank you cards later. All the other attending women would oooh and ahhh appropriately as the gifts were opened. A light lunch would follow, goodbyes and best wishes would be said, and the whole thing would be wrapped up in about two hours.

Now there is so much more to a shower. I attended a bridal shower where there was a digital slide show complete with sound track of the bride from infancy onward. I see ideas for baby shower games on Pinterest that are nothing like the old fashioned ones we played. A bride was usually covered in her own bows by the end of gift opening time, or a tray of assorted items would be passed around for all the ladies to memorize and then covered with a scarf after which all in attendance were made to write down as many items as they could remember. Sometimes a small sticker was attached to the bottom of a teacup and the bearer of that cup would go home with a special gift. New games involve drinking out of baby bottles, waiting for your tiny plastic baby to be released from its ice cube in your drink, writing funny messages on diapers, placing a paper plate on your head and drawing a picture, and the ever popular guessing what kind of chocolate bar has been melted in a diaper to look like baby poop. Each to their own, I guess.

Have you been to a baby shower lately? Do you have favourite gifts that you like to give?

Friday 4 November 2016

Have the Munchies? Here's a Healthier Snack.

Way back when, after I had my second child, I discovered that the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and milk that I craved while I was pregnant didn't seem to want to leave me. I decided to join Weight Watchers and attended a weekly meeting in the basement of a church where I was weighed in and learned all about the points system. I managed to be successful and adopted some pretty good eating habits. From what I hear about the new Weight Watchers, it is even better now and seems to pay more attention to protein and complex carbs as opposed to just staying within your points regardless of what you choose to eat.

I discovered Smart Pop microwave popcorn. I bought it by the case. It was one of my go-to snacks while I was on Weight Watchers. I did not care what was in it, as long as I stayed within my points. Unfortunately if you look at the ingredients, it isn't just plain old popcorn in that flat sealed up bag. There are other ingredients that may be a little disconcerting to some.

I used to have a hot air popcorn popper which would have been a much healthier way to make popcorn, but alas it was no more. In fact, I don't even know what happened to it. Did it get sold in a yard sale?

Then  I found out that you can pop corn in a paper bag. Yes, you can use a regular paper bag with ordinary popcorn in your microwave. Easy. Let me show you how.

Use a regular lunch size paper bag.

Any kind of popping corn will suffice.

A level 1/4 cup of popping corn is the right amount for that size of bag.

Pour the popcorn into the bag.

Fold the top of the bag over a couple of times.

Lay the bag down in the microwave with the folded end facing down.

In my microwave, two minutes is the right amount of time. You want to listen to the popping and when it slows down to just a pop or two every few seconds, you should probably stop the microwave so it doesn't taste burnt. (I also noticed I need to wipe the front of my microwave. It's a bit fingerprinty right now!)

Ta Daaaaa! Popcorn.

You can enjoy it plain, sprinkled with salt, or...

you can melt a little bit of butter in a measuring cup which makes it easier to pour on your popcorn. I find it's better to put a little butter on, then the salt so the salt will stick to the popcorn.

Not only is this a healthier way to have a bowl of popcorn, but it is far more economical. As you could see, I started with 100 paper bags and have barely put a dent in them. It is far cheaper to buy a bag of popcorn, rather than buying the microwavable popcorn packages. The paper bag comes out in good shape, so you could likely reuse it, either for popcorn again, or for some other use. (Did you know that mushrooms stay fresher longer in a paper bag in your fridge?) Now, I am going to wrap this up, because that same bowl of popcorn has been sitting beside me on the coffee table while I have been writing up this post and it is awfully hard to type and eat popcorn at the same time!

Wednesday 2 November 2016

At it Again!

When I opened the fridge tonight, this is what I saw.


If you want to know why a tiny severed head is sitting on the salsa, you can look back at this post.